It's the Wrath of Tito, it's your birthday... I come to you at least once a week, it's your birthday... I've been writing columns for over 4 years, it's your birthday. See, it doesn't take much talent to become the #1 artist/rapper in America or on the Billboard charts. Welcome to another fun filled edition of the WRATH OF TITO, the column written by the Tito and for the readers.
I'm in a good mood lately because the Pittsburgh Pirates started off the season 5-1. Yeah, it's early in the season, but I can dream, can't I? I'm happy that baseball is back because I just hate the months between the Superbowl and Opening Day. The NHL is beginning to bore me with its economics and continued low scoring (with clutching already back in the NHL), although the NBA is a lot better this season than previous ones. The West rules the world and there's no doubt that a NBA champion will come out of that division. No doubt! The NCAA has lost its quality of play from the many underclassmen jumping too early and for the high school players jumping into the NBA.
But baseball is fun, even if it's 162 games for a season.
Ok, I'm getting off topic, so let's talk wrestling. Despite the horrid 3.7 rating that RAW gained last week, I've noticed a fair amount of national press or attention towards Bill Goldberg getting into the WWE. Several sports radio and local sports stations have covered his debut, which is something you didn't see for debuts such as Scott Steiner or whoever else. It shows that Goldberg still has some celebrity left in him. The WWE can't fail with Goldberg. NEVER let him get jobbed out like many other WCW stars before Goldberg. Also, the WWE needs to condition Goldberg to keep the guy healthy. Injuries killed any roll Goldberg may have been on after a return, which a limited schedule given to him by the WWE will help.
It's my hope that Goldberg works out. It's the last of the old WCW franchise guys to make a difference on WWE television, as after this guy, the WWE no longer has any wildcards up its sleeve to draw whenever they need wrestling fans talking again. I personally think that the Rock vs. Goldberg feud will be fun, but I worry, very much, about Goldberg's opponent after that; his name being Triple H. Yes, that name that keeps getting brought up time after time. But hey, he's heavily influencial on the RAW brand, given that he's engaged to Stephanie and brought the WWE some good success in 2000. Ignoring the embarrassing feuds with Jericho, Rob Van Dam, Jeff Hardy, Kane, and Booker T, just focus the Scott Steiner feud. It was so poorly written, as Triple H had various weightlifting and workout sessions to hype the feud. Huh?!?
And when they do feud, what will happen? Given Goldberg's only marginal mic skills, Triple H will slander him just as he did Booker T before Wrestlemania. Heels, mind you, are the ones supposed to get ripped on, but it's reverse in Triple H's case, as he embarrasses his opponents verbally. Hell, everything is in reverse with Triple H. Isn't a heel supposed to lose cleanly and win cheaply, while making stars out of all of his main event opponents? Oops.
Triple H, aside from injuries, is the one big roadblock in the way of Goldberg becoming a WWE success. You watch, the Rock will cleanly put over Goldberg at Backlash and have a great feud to set it up. But like the Hurricane getting squashed, Triple H will probably taint what the Rock creates, once again.
I'm currently reading the Roddy Piper book, casually to say the least. With graduate school kicking my ass as usual, I can't just sit down for a few hours and kill off a few chapters. I usually read it before class, between classes, and times like today when I'm sitting in the graduate office and reading it, putting off all homework I had to do. D'oh! Everyone in the office was looking at me while they were doing their stacks of assignments that professors give them. The book is good so far. I'm roughly halfway through it, and I must say, Piper loaded it up with stories of being backstage and on the road. I'm not even near the point where he joins the WWF in the 1980's, too, which is something to greatly look foward to.
A few people have been asking me about the Smackdown debuts of Roddy Piper and Sable. My thoughts are that they are both pretty old right now, at least looks-wise. Both probably have the energy to be entertaining again, probably. I've noticed, though, with Roddy Piper that ever since his stint in WCW during late 1999 while Vince Russo was around, his speaking ability has diminished. He was great on the mic back in the day, but he started saying weird things during the Russo era and hasn't been the same since. He seems out of shape, yes, but he hasn't exactly needed to hit the gym to wrestle, now has he? You don't need to be in great shape to be an interviewer. I'm wondering how Piper's famous segment of the 1980's, the Piper's Pit, will do here in 2003. Different era, different people.
I have no problem with Sable's return. She just looks older in the face, big time. She seems to have kept her body in tact, which is a big plus, as wonders in make up can make you look younger. Just as long as she understands her role of putting over Torrie as the new hottest WWE babe and that this is her last chance to make good of her WWE legacy, which if you think about it, she had a very vital role in helping the WWE boom of 1998. Let's hope both sides are professional with each other.
Nothing more to say... on to RAW!
There are red "X"'s on Austin's pictures in the introduction. Why not just edit him out?
We start off the evening in a SURE FIRE way to get viewers quickly changing over to the NCAA Tournament Finals, Trish vs. Jazz. By the way, way to go WWE on the unannounced Women's title match, especially one you might save for a Pay Per View. Unannounced title matches make people CARE about this division. Yeah, and 50 Cent is an actual talented musician. Whatever. Nice kick and then a Lou Thesz press off the side of the ring by Trish. That was a pretty nasty Fisherman's Brainbuster hit by Jazz. Sadly, you can clearly see Trish talking to the referee while she's in the half-crab submission. Do you notice how quiet the crowd is for this match, but they are ignited when Rob Van Dam comes out for the opener? Yeah, and who got to be on Wrestlemania? Trish retained, but Jazz's foot was on the ropes, meaning we'll get another EXCITING rematch. Happy, happy, joy, joy!
The Rock arrives and enters Bischoff's office, and he's fuming about Bill Goldberg. Just in an instant, the Rock is putting over Bill Goldberg in this feud. We'll see a possible confrontation later between Rock and Goldberg.
With Heat on TNN, here's an idea. Why not have Steve Austin wrestle as an exclusive wrestler there? It would help that show, given that it would be the only place to see Austin, and not only that, Austin could knock off some ring rust and try new things with his character. Just a crazy idea...
Star Trek 3 is on TNN tomorrow! Set your timers! I love the part where Captain Kirk shouts "Klingon bastards have killed my son!".
Duuuuuuuuuuude!!! Rob Van Dam and Kane are backstage. FINGER OF SHAME for the 4:20 reference made by Rob Van Dam. This is a wrestling show, not a show to put over drug references. I've been down this road in an old Bad Tito column I wrote over 2 years ago, which you can read by Clicking Here.
Backstage, Rodney Mack and Teddy Long propose an offer of alignment with Jazz. Putting husband and wife together? Talk about a company being nice to you.
The Rock is backstage and talking to Trish, hitting on an old flame. However, Jeff Hardy walks in. Oh my gosh?!? Will the Rock put over Jeff Hardy or help him in the storylines, like the Hurricane?!? "Put your paint on, put your mazi-pad on". HAHAHA! The Rock is my hero.
Good Steve Austin ESPN commercial!
Next match was Rob Van Dam vs. Chief Morley. Pretty solid midcard wrestling, although anything involving Storm or Morley just isn't too interesting to watch lately. But this was good. Nice cross body by RVD on Storm. Oh damn, what a DDT on RVD! I've seen RVD take the sickest DDT's in my lifetime, and this one reminded me of a nasty one taken in 1997 from Tommy Dreamer. This was good and acceptable wrestling.
Good stuff with Ivory and Shawn Michaels meeting those people at the military base.
Scott Steiner, the big bad midcarding daddy, comes out for the next match. I bet that the Rock would make Steiner look like a million bucks, maybe repairing the damage left by Triple H. His opponent is Chris Nowinski, and Nowinski cuts an anti-American promo. Lame. Too bad he can't use any other tactics to get crowd heat. Having a snobbish gimmick from Harvard should be enough. The match ends in a no contest, which never really hit the ring to be honest. Can you say counterproductive?
Bill Goldberg arrives. Da man!
Alright!!! We are now treated to Bill Goldberg highlights from WCW. Good use of the WCW library, for a change.
Backstage, Christian asks for a favor from the Rock. Funny stuff with the DVD signing. The Rock then gives Christian some advice on "seizing the opportunity", putting over yet another wrestler in a backstage segment.
Rock vs. Jeff Hardy is next. Suggestion for Jeff Hardy? GET NEW RING MUSIC! I mean, I like the theme, but it's stale like his spotty style of wrestling. It's amazing to see the Rock in great shape facing a wrestler, Jeff Hardy, who has let himself go... The crowd is hot for this match. Rocky is giving Jeff Hardy a good bit of offense, as opposed to the Undertaker or Triple H who squash Hardy non-stop throughout the match. Funny stuff with the Hardy Elbow (People's elbow parody). Jeff Hardy hits the Swanton, but the Rock gets the shoulder up at 2. Rocky hits his devastating DDT and Rock Bottoms Jeff for the win. That was the best Jeff looked in months, maybe years...
The Rock calls out Bill Goldberg. "Just bring it, Bitch!". Goldberg, I might add, looks a lot smaller in muscle tone since we last saw him in WCW. The Rock runs away, but Christian seizes the opportunity, and tries to attack Goldberg. Rock tries to run in but fails. Not a bad segment, but he should have whipped out the Jackhammer on Christian, at least. Goldberg might not be ready to perform yet, given how small he looked. Still, they have a few more weeks to hype this show, so let's see what happens.
Ah, the handicap match. Besides the mixed tag and 6 man match, it's RAW's specialty. That was sarcasm. Kane vs. Dudleys was next. The Dudleys are already stale in their role as members of the Bischoff corporation. You can tell by the silence the Dudleys are met with nowadays. Dudleys actually won the handicap match, met with crowd noises that "we don't care". RVD runs down to save his partner, but gets ambushed by Lance Storm. Now, we see a 4 on 2 attack. Nice dropkick into a chair on RVD's face by Storm. RVD/Kane won't hold those titles very long.
Goldust made that segment with Stacy and Test entertaining, whereas it otherwise wouldn't be.
Steve Austin's music hits and a black pick up truck arrives. Eric Bischoff is the driver, wearing some Austin gear as well. Bischoff taunts Austin and then confronts Jim Ross for his comments last week. Bad production stuff from the truck, as they throw in the video feed as Bischoff is still talking. Bischoff asks Ross if he has something to say to him, say it to Eric's face. Jim Ross tells Bischoff to "take this job and shove it", and walks off. No more Ross on RAW? Could this be the final days of Jim Ross in the WWE as a whole?
Goldust vs. Steven Richards is next. Good to see that Richards is getting a run as a singles wrestler. Let's hope the WWE gives him good character development. I take it that Victoria is opting to rehab her ACL tear instead of going for the surgery. She can simply valet while she heals. Ticket sales news is featured in this match, showing how much the WWE cares about this match. Coachman joins Lawler at commentary. If the Coach is the new full time announcer for RAW, it will make this show suck *that* much worse. It's not that Ross is the greatest anymore, but that Coachman is very, very bad. Goldust wins and there's some dissention afterward between Richards and Victoria.
Backstage, Flair was great as a motivator between Triple H and Jericho before their match, whooo, against Booker T/HBK. Jericho and Triple H could make a great team, as I guess the old saying goes that if you can't beat 'em, join 'em.
I find it funny that the baby-size commercial runs regarding smoking, yet the Surgeon General's warning on many cigarettes clearly states that smoking may cause birth defects. Again, anti-smoker organizations. To get your point across, show an old man or woman coughing out their lungs due to lung cancer or any other breathing disease.
Rene Dupree and the guy who was the corrupt referee at No Way Out are teaming up as evil Canadians and are coming to the WWE soon. Awesome! Dupree is finally going to make it in the WWE. I laugh at the moron who tried to comment once on Dupree's signing, saying that there were better independent talent out there to sign, such as a few lightweights or former WCW wash ups.
Our main event was Booker T/Shawn Michaels vs. Triple H/Chris Jericho. Could be good... It's hard to watch with the finals on, I must admit, currently in the 2nd Half. Backstage, a limo arrives, probably carrying a backstage cancer the WWE doesn't need right now. Good tag match from the start. The WWE does too many spinebusters as transition moves. I keep saying that. The end had Booker getting the pin on Triple H, proving to everyone once again that Triple H will never be so generous in a singles match or whenever a title is on the line. End brawl sees Jericho/HHH/Flair beating up HBK and Booker T, handcuffing HBK actually. The Hurricane actually tries to run down, but gets destroyed once he runs into Triple H. And then, the cancer arrives....
To old Diesel music, Kevin Nash comes out, and beats up Flair and Jericho. Notice how Nash is already allowed to his his finisher, as he hit the Jacknife on Jericho. The show ends with a Nash and triple H staredown. Nash looks to be in good shape and younger with the hair dye.
LAST WORD: Good RAW overall. The matches were more watchable than in previous weeks and the storylines were better. I don't care for the filler stuff, such as Goldust vs. Richards, Steiner vs. Nowinski, and the Women's match. Why was Trish vs. Jazz the opener? The Rock clearly stole the show, making Hardy look like a million bucks, for a change. I worry about the conflicting returns of Goldberg and Kevin Nash, but only time will tell. I liked RAW for the most part, so hence my [ A- ] (A minus) grade.
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